Friday, December 19, 2014

7 QT Before Christmas 2014

You know the problem with not blogging regularly?  Every time I sit down to write, it feels like it has to be something really super important or meaningful.  And ain't nobody got time for that!  So just an update to prove we're all alive (mostly) and well (mostly).  Linking up with Kelly...


John-Paul is doing so much better in school since those first few weeks of middle school/new school transitioning.  He is playing basketball for the last year (his words), serving Mass and Latin Mass, hanging out with the middle school youth group, and constantly reading in between any activity.  We mostly yell at him to "Put the book down!" which is really a pretty awesome problem to have.  The above photo was on the way home from the orthodontist office when he found out he was getting braces on Dec. 29th!


Andrew is on the left in that blurry photo - it's hard to get decent action shots with my iPhone.  He is playing basketball, and seems to be really good at it for his age.  He's a 4th grader on a team of 4th through 6th graders, but he plays a lot of the game, calls out plays, sets picks, scores occasionally and is super fast.  He just made the President's List in school too (all A's) and is kinda the kid that you would hate if he wasn't so fun to be around :)  He's also serving Latin Mass now, which is beautiful to watch - they understand it all so much better than I do!  He is usually found outside tossing a ball with Eamon.


Eamon just recently made his First Reconciliation, and is preparing for First Communion this Spring.  He is always, always, always found throwing a ball up and catching it.  If it's not a ball, then it's some other close object.  He's a huge fan of football watching, and believes his stuffed Pat Patriot is a lucky charm so he holds it during the games :)  He is waiting for his basketball season to start, and is getting easily shuffled in the middle of our family (not lost, just hard to find!)


I think I've used this photo of the toothless princess in our house already, forgive me.  Maggie is looking so old without her baby teeth, I love it and hate it at the same time.  She is usually found singing and dancing too close to her brothers for their liking.  So we put music on in the kitchen and have a girl dancing party as we clean up after dinner.  Haters gonna hate, but players gotta play.  Maggie loves reading like John-Paul and is excited to play basketball on the same team as Eamon this year.  She loves playing with her girl cousins and friends at school, and we try to give her special girl time every once in a while too.


Alexander is a super fun, super exhausting, super time consuming, super cute toddler.  Since we have 6 kids, we should be giving each kid about 16.66% of our time, but Xander definitely takes up around 82.99%.  Phew.  He's usually found playing with musical toys, having parades, solving problems while wearing his cape, eating, singing Rudolph the NOSE RED Reindeer (I'm not correcting that cuteness!), coloring on walls and asking for a Magic Eraser "for no reason, I just need one, don't come look at the wall".  I know this stage will pass, and he'll soon turn four, which is my favorite age!


Declan turned 8 months old, and can now clap on, clap off all the livelong day.  He's so stinkin' cute!  That photo is not really showing his cuteness, but it was from the night he started clapping, and documenter extraordinaire I long to be (video on Instagram)Somehow, he's still our happiest and easiest baby ever, and the most trouble he gives us is that he won't finish a bottle.  I can't blame him, though, because I hate finishing the bottom of a drink too.  Like crazy mother, like crazy son.  We recently switched up his daycare providers, and I think he is very happy where he is now...though he doesn't say much!  His favorite activities include fine dining, taking baths, and long walks on the beach.  Just checking if you're still paying attention :)


Phil and I are doing pretty good too, really tired, but who isn't?  We've been waking up earlier than usual to accommodate our new morning routine of occasional exercise and dropping off the baby to the new daycare.  Waking up at 5:15 to 5:30 makes me fall asleep as soon as I sit down at night, which is something I need to work on.  

We're doing a lot of eating too!

We have turned a corner in our parenthood, where we used to have everything and everyone all set for the night by 6:30, and now we are prepping/cleaning/helping with homework/picking up from practices until about 8:00 every night.  Still not bad, as I know the teenage years go way later than that!  But it took us some adjusting and now it's the new normal, and honestly I kinda like it.  I feel a lot more productive and find myself meal planning and prepping a lot more than I used to.  I even made some homemade gifts last night:

Recipe here

I hope you all have a wonderful last weekend before Christmas, and I hope the elves come help with your to-do lists :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

St. Nick and the Giveaway Winner

On Saturday we woke up to some small treats from St. Nicholas...

The Maze Runner and candy

A hummer and candy

Sports cars and candy

She was not pleased that she got a nightgown and not a toy.  Drama!!

On Sunday, we went to our school's Breakfast with St. Nick:

And to top it off, all Maggie wants for Christmas is her two...

...front teeth!

She also chose the winner of her favorite book:

Congrats to Jenny!  

(I think Maggie felt your daughter's pain of being the only girl!)

Email me at collmart at gmail dot com, with your full name and address, and we'll have the book sent along.  Thanks!

Friday, December 5, 2014

It's Friday! And a Giveaway!

Joining up with Jen  who is passing the torch to Kelly on this fine Friday morning...


Basketball season is well underway for my CYO playing boys this year.  It seems like their team is really good, and basketball is very fun and exciting to watch.  After soccer season, this feels much easier to handle!  Maggie and Eamon will start their town team in January.

I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller...


Phil and I are the kind of parents who don't give their kids money.  We don't do allowances and they have to complete a really big chore to get some compensation (usually in the form of eating out) but otherwise we expect them to help out around the house.  

We've had the same attitudes for grades.  We expect their best work, and when they get good report cards, we go out for Happy Meals (it works when they're little!). that J-P is in middle school, we have been discussing a new approach for rewarding good grades/giving additional incentive to a kid that needs it, and I've talked to some moms who have wonderful kids older than ours, and we have decided to start paying him for good grades on his report card.

Who are we?

I never thought we would do this, but we had to reevaluate what wasn't working for him, and decided that once our kids reach middle school, they can get paid $3 for every A in a main subject on their report card.  

But here's the kicker...they have to pay us $2 for every B, and if there's any C the whole deal is null and void.  He has 6 "main subjects" and has the potential to earn $18 on each trimester's report card.  This first trimester, he owed us $2 :)


My sister-in-law sent up DIY Advent Beeswax candles, and they are so cool!  Even though I'm the least bit crafty, there is something so rewarding about making something yourself.


Eamon had his First Reconciliation last night!  

He was so nervous and kept asking me questions like:

 "What if I can't remember all my sins?" (God forgives all your sins, but you have to tell everything you can remember, and He knows the rest!)

"What if I forget the Act of Contrition?" (The priest will be more than happy to help you!)

"What if I only have four sins?" (Then you're awesome! Haha!)

We went to the Latin Mass before his sacrament, and after Mass I told him to examine his conscience, and snuck a photo of him doing just that:

Gosh I love him so.

Then we went out for ice cream afterwards!  It was a Clean Soul Partayyyy :)


What was I thinking letting him order that?

Like mother, like sons.


Phil and I have been eating this combination for lunch a few times a week - it's so easy to grab and bring to work:




John-Paul has picked a topic for the science fair that looks relatively easy - phew!  It's how to turn dirty water into drinkable water just by letting the sun do it's work:

Pretty cool, right?


And now for the giveaway! 

 Emily Ortega, author of the Bernadette book series, is graciously giving away a copy of her newest book, Christmas with Bernadette to one lucky reader!  

These are Maggie's favorite books, and such wonderful stories of a Catholic family.  There are so few fiction books out there that I feel comfortable letting her read, but Emily's books are perfect in every way - funny, entertaining, appropriate and have great messages.  I hope she writes twenty more!

To win your copy just leave me a comment, telling me what's on your Christmas wishlist!  

I'll let Maggie pick the winner on December 10th, so you'll have time to receive the book by Christmas!!!